Nigel Farage has announced he won’t stand to be an MP in the snap election, but faced ridicule on social media for suggesting one seat would have been an “easy win”.
The ex-Ukip leader dismissed mounting speculation he would seek election to the Commons for an eighth time, after MP Douglas Carswell announced he would not seek re-election in the heavily Eurosceptic constituency Clacton, which he won for the party.
But he wrote he preferred to be in the European Parliament, saying this gave him a greater role in the negotiations.
“If I compare the platform I have in Strasbourg to being a backbench MP, there is frankly no comparison,” he wrote in the article, published on Thursday evening.
“The Brexit negotiations will take place in Brussels and the European parliament will not only have a large impact on them but ultimately will have the right of veto on any deal at the end of the two-year process.”
He doubled down on the prospect of victory on his LBC radio show (see above). “Clacton is demographically Ukip’s best seat in the country and I thought: I could stand in Thanet South, it’s tough, but I still think I’d win given an even playing field. In Clacton, it would be easier,” he said, adding he never wanted to be a “career politician” and now wanted to “win the peace” as a Brussels MEP.
Some on social media mocked the MEP for opting not to stand given how “easy” victory would have been, given his seven failures in the past.
Farage stood in the 2015 election for the Kent seat of Thanet South which was ultimately won by the Conservatives.
Farage’s successor as leader Paul Nuttall said he thought Farage would stand in the June election.
On Thursday morning, Farage told The Today Programme he was undecided.
He said: “I’ve got to weigh up, where am I best to be to have an impact on Brexit and perhaps warning the British people it’s not going in the direction it should be.”
Carswell quit the party, meaning Ukip will go into the election without a sitting MP.
Its popularity has fallen since the referendum last year, as other parties have taken up the cause of Brexit.